HARRY GRUNDFEST

January 10, 1904–October 10, 1983

BY JOHN P. REUBEN

HARRY GRUNDFEST'S CONTRIBUTIONS to (and his influence on) the field of neurophysiology were extensive, touching all corners of the field, providing inspiration and direction to more than 100 young scientists, and proposing mechanisms for how membrane electrical events determine cellular processes. These include conduction and excitation in nerve fibers, chemical and electrical signalling between excitable cells, and excitation-contraction coupling.

Considering the breadth of his contributions and the well over 500 publications describing many of them, it is difficult within an introductory paragraph or two to select what may be considered the overriding contributions. For this reason I emphasize that the following is my personal selection and clearly others may have a different point of view.

A concept that he put forth and that evolved over numerous publications was the heterogeneity of cellular membranes and the role this attribute of membranes plays in determining cellular activities. Initially his interpretation of currentclamp data led to the proposal that cell membranes are a composite of two types of membranes, electrically excitable and electrically inexcitable. This concept gave rise to the view that membranes are mosaic structures in which different regions of the bounding cell membrane possess varying



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